'Have we not lost enough lives for our rights?' - Jaffna Uni protests in tribute to student who committed suicide

Students at the University of Jaffna held a demonstration calling the Sri Lankan government to account, after a school student committed suicide over the ongoing Tamil political prisoners crisis. @uthayashalin Demonstrators called for justice for the death of 18-year-old Rajeswaran Senthuran , who took his own life in protest at the Sri Lankan government's failure to release Tamil political prisoners. Rajeswaran Senthuran, a student at Kokkuvil Hindu College jumped in front of a train at Kondavil railway station near Jaffna.

US Ambassador Samantha Power visits Jaffna

US Ambassador Samantha Power with Chief Minister of the Nothern Province C. V. Wigneswaran in Jaffna earlier today. (Photograph Tamil Guardian) UPDATED 18OO GMT

UN confirms existence of secret torture camps in Sri Lanka, calls on gov to reveal other possible locations

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (UN WGEID) announced that it had discovered a “secret underground detention cum torture center” located in Sri Lanka and called on the government to reveal the existence of other such centers if any existed. Speaking at a press conference concluding the UN team’s visit to Sri Lanka, Ariel Dulitzky, said that the center most probably would have been used from 2010 according to dates scribbled in blood on the walls. "We saw the dates that some people wrote on the walls. Clearly some of the latest dates were from 2010. We believe that it is an important discovery that should be investigated. Our understanding is that people were held there for very long periods of time," said the UN official. The UN investigator added that there was a high probability of other torture sites existing on the island. Mr Dulitzky stressed that the impunity in which disappearances had taken place in Sri Lanka had caused deep wounds in affected communities in Sri lanka.

Towns across North-East shut down in support of Tamil political detainees

Updated 12:00 GMT Shops and businesses in Jaffna are closed in support of hunger striking Tamil political detainees, who demand to be released (Photo: @uthayashalin) Several towns across the Tamil-dominated North-East have nearly completely shut down in a hartal in support of Tamil political prisoners. Shops, restaurants, banks, schools and other institutions, owned by Tamils and Muslims are closed in Batticaloa, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee and Vavuniya, locals told the Tamil Guardian on Friday. President Maithripala Sirisena was forced to cancel a visit to Batticaloa, where he was due to take part in the opening of a court complex. Some business owners in Jaffna town and Nelliyadi opened their shops after they were threatened by unidentified individuals, however later took part in the protest action, despite the threats.

Remembering Thamilselvan 8 years on

Photograph TamilNet S. P. Thamilselvan, the head of the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was assassinated by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) on November 2nd, 2007. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' (OHCHR) report into Sri Lanka's atrocities (OISL) noted that Sri Lanka's military killed the LTTE's political head before it officially withdrew from the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) in 2008. It noted that the attack was preceded by a military budget that "had reportedly risen by 40 percent and the Army had tripled in size from 100,000 to 300,000, with almost an additional 5,000 troops recruited per month between 2005 and 2008". The death of Thamilselvan, who became the LTTE's top peace negotiator following the death of Anton Balasingham, was mourned across the world, with over 25,000 Tamils attending his funeral. Five other LTTE officials - Lt. Col. Anpumani (Alex), Major Mikuthan, Major Neathaaji, Lt. Aadchiveal and Lt. Maavaikkumaran - were killed along side Brigadier Thamilselvan, during the SLAF attack. The aerial bombardment targeted the residence of members of the LTTE's political division.

Northern Province begins marking 'meaningful' month of remembrance

The Northern Province today said the month of November will be dedicated to planting trees. The project, which will see 500,000 trees planted, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Wigneswaran. TNA MPs Sritharan, Saravanapavan and Siddharthan, the NPC's agricultural minister Aiyngaranesan and education minister Gurukularajah, NPC Councillor Ananthy Sasitharan and several other officials attended the event in Semmani, alongside pupils from local schools.

30 Oct 1995: Jaffna exodus as Tamils flee for Vanni ahead of SL military advance

On October 30, 1995, over half a million Tamil men, women and children fled their homes in Jaffna, ahead of a major military offensive by the Sri Lankan government led by Chandrika Kumaratunga, in what became known as the Jaffna Exodus. The entire town of Jaffna, the largest Tamil population centre in Sri Lanka, streamed out in a mass exodus for the safety of the Vanni, which was then controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Walking for several miles east, crossing the Navatkuli bridge, the throngs of people, carrying whatever they could manage, made their way to the neck of the Jaffna peninsula, before making the dangerous boat journey on to Kilinochchi.

15 years since Bindunuwewa prison massacre

Police officers who were convicted but then released on appeal for the massacre of Tamil political detainees in 2000 (Virakesari) Fifteen years ago an armed mob of Sinhala villagers stormed a rehabilitation centre and killed at least 28 Tamil youths, as security forces stood by and even joined in. The centre in the southern town of Bindunuwewa was jointly run by several bodies, including the Presidential Secretariat, under then-president Chandrika Kumaratunga, the Child Protection Authority, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. Dozens of Tamil youths in their late teens and early twenties were held here on suspicion of supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, supposedly undergoing rehabilitation for a few months before their release. A few days before the massacre, detainees protested against prolonged detention, sometimes over a year, and the deliberate withholding of letters from relatives by the authorities. The next morning a mob of local Sinhalese, reported by UTHR to be 2,000 strong, had formed outside the detention facility. They entered the centre and attacked the inmates with knives, machetes, clubs and iron rods, and set fire to the residence halls. Police officers stood by and in at least one instance opened fire on the inmates. A military detachment in the area was also withdrawn the previous day, indicating a premeditated attack.

Thousands attend funeral of former LTTE official in Kilinochchi

Updated: 2100 GMT Photographs: Tamil Guardian Thousands of Tamils in Jaffna attended the funeral of the former head of the Women’s political wing division in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Subramaniam Sivakamy. Her funeral was attended by Tamil politicians from across the North-East, including from the TNA, TNPF and TULF.

Triumphant return for president who 'achieved a great victory' at UNHRC, as he pledges 'domestic inquiry'

Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena returned from his trip to the UN General Assembly in New York to a triumphant welcome, as Singhalese across the south celebrated the UNHRC resolution as a victory over the imposition of international involvement in a hybrid mechanism. Huge crowds had gathered at the airport to receive the president, as Buddhist monks chanted and bestowed blessing on him. Speaking soon after his arrival, President Sirisena said Sri Lanka "achieved a great victory" , as the international community appreciated steps taken by the government to address human rights concerns, while the government succeeded in averting the " electric chair ", an international investigation, and a hybrid special court in the resolution passed on Thursday.

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